Friday, July 21, 2017

My Dad's Sweaters

by Lorraine Bartlett / Lorna Barrett / L.L. Bartlett

Even though it's summer, I still wear sweaters ... a lot. First, the house is often cold because of the air conditioning. Mr. L likes it around 72. I could be happier at 75, but ... I just put on a sweater.

I have a LOT of sweaters. My Mum was into machine knitting and made a LOT of them. I have a couple I wear on REALLY cold days because they are really long (I think she must have made them extra-long), and ... I couldn't bear to part with them when she died.

When my Dad passed away almost nine years ago (how can he have been gone that long already????), Mum started wearing his sweaters. He had quite a collection and most of them came from England. Marks and Spencer to be exact. I'm sure my mother picked them out for him while they were on their frequent trips "back home" in England. He wore them from the 1970s through the early 90s and then for some reason stopped. (Maybe because he gained too much weight?)

Anyway, a couple of them hung in my mother's big walk-in closet. She had anemia and was cold 24/7, so she often wore three layers in the summer. Turtleneck, sweatshirt, sweater. I'd come over in the summer and it would be broiling in the house and she'd think it was just fine.

After she passed away, it was my job to clean out the house. I gave away nearly all her clothes, and she'd already done that for Dad, but hanging in the closet were two of his sweaters. I found even more packed away in a suitcase. In all, I think I kept at least ten sweaters. And I wear them. My favorite is one of Dad's. It's navy blue and it's got moth holes. They're tiny and don't detract from the cardigan's warmth. There were two green ones, which are in excellent shape, and they are HEAVY. I didn't wear them last winter, but I will this year.

I love those sweaters. They're a tangible remembrance of both my parents.

One winter day not long after Dad died, I visited my Mum on a snowy day. I was COLD. She handed me a polar fleece jacket that belonged to my Dad and said, "Take this. And when you're sad (I was crying every day back then, and I can be reduced to tears in a heartbeat when I think of either of them now) and when you're sad, wear this and wrap your arms around yourself and it'll be a hug from your Dad.

On a day when things don't go right, I put on that jacket or his sweater and give myself a hug. It's not as good as the read thing, but it'll do.

Are you sentimental about certain items of clothing?

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